February 2015

What To Look for When Picking out Ecommerce Solutions

A lot of technology powers the typical online shopping experience, but a business owner does not need to know how to create any of it. A substantial marketplace of companies offering ecommerce solutions gives business people many options for setting up an online store with customizable products.

Big Selection of Website Templates

A good ecommerce platform presents the client with a large choice of website templates. The templates should all look professional in design. Custom elements should also be available so the client can choose the colors, add a logo, and make its web store look like a unique place.

Product Options

Online companies can sell physical goods, digital content, services, subscriptions, and sometimes combinations of two or more types of products. It is important to choose an ecommerce service that accommodates all the product types. Customization within individual product listings is a key feature too. The ability to let a shopper choose from sizes, colors, subscription periods, and levels of service distinguishes good systems from limited ones.

A company that currently meets the varied needs of many types of online stores is 1ShoppingCart. Its services provide online stores with shopping cart checkouts.

Mobile Ready

Even today not all websites render well on small screen mobile devices even though customers commonly use mobile devices. A good web store will be enabled to clearly present products and smoothly checkout customers on mobile devices. These functions are essential for any company setting up an online store.

Marketing Help

Some providers include services like email marketing and even telephone call center support for shoppers. Smoothly integrated marketing functions add value to an ecommerce system. They make it easy for business people to maintain relationships with customers and present a seamless interface with the store.

Before a business person chooses a platform, he or she should make a list of basic needs for the store. Then the list can be expanded to include features that would be nice to have. With this information, services can be compared against the needs of the business. Ideally a service provider will offer packages with various levels of features. The business can choose the best fit and then scale up in the future when more features may be needed.

5 companies that will help your finances grow

We have modern technology to thanks for the fact we now have even more ways than ever to increase the balance of our bank accounts. At times it seems like money is impossible to come by, (we’ve all been there!) but the following web-based companies can give people of all different interests and skills a way to make some money.


I’m going to assume you already know the basics of bidding website eBay, without doubt one of the biggest and best-known online retailers. The majority of users log onto the website to buy, but others use it to sell and successful eBay salespeople can make a lot of money. The simplest way is to sell off all the junk which fills so many of our homes, but with hard work and some smart bidding eBay can become a place for you to buy cheap items (with no intention of using what you buy)  and sell them for more to make a profit. Don’t attempt this unless you are very competent at maths, are prepared to work hard, and already have a decent knowledge of how the site works.


This website exists to do all the hard work for you when it comes to investing stocks and shares ISAs. If investing isn’t your cup of tea or if you simply don’t have the time then Nutmeg’s investors are there to do it all for you after you’ve told them your goals, how much you want to invest and the risks you’re prepared to take. We recommend having a look at Nutmeg  for some free information on the current ISA limits all investors should be taking advantage of.


Primarily an online polling site, Swagbucks mixes things up by paying you to watch videos, use its search engine, and play online games. The website has its own currency, ‘Swag bucks’, which can be traded for cash via paypal, or gift cards for Amazon, M&S, Pizza Express and more. Swagbucks isn’t the only website which offers this, other examples include Ipsos, Global Test Market, Crowdology, and OnePoll.


One of the internet’s biggest marketplaces for freelance work of all different kinds, Elance users are treated to a simple and sleek interface with jobs in niches that range from translation to web design. Individuals or companies who need work done post advertisements and you submit a proposal. There isn’t a limit to how much money you can make, but don’t expect to immediately land yourself a high-paying gig. With persistence and hard work you could become one of the website’s elite freelancers who can earn anything up to £100,000 a year. This article from the Guardian outlines some pros and cons of freelance!


If you have an interest or talent for arts and crafts, Etsy is without doubt the website for you. It serves as an online craft fair for absolutely anything handmade, from jewellery and ceramics to furniture and art. There’s also a section for vintage items, which have to be at least 20 years old. One problem, however, is that the website is based in the USA so it operates in dollars and would require British users to pay increased shipping costs. However, British alternatives include Folksy and Coriandr which may not be as big but this means that you could face less competition when selling your wares.

Embrace the social media to boost your business’ ROI – Smart ways to stay afloat

It is universally acknowledged by all businessmen that social media is an increasingly vital tactic in the marketing strategies of the companies and in fact there are big shot companies that manage social media as a totally different activity. If you have a business of your own and you are wondering about the tactics that you should employ in order to multiply your monthly returns, you’re perhaps forgetting about embracing the social media. We all know that marketing is an integral part of a commercial organization and now that the entire world is there in the social media, it is vital for the business firms to carry on with social media marketing.

There are a number of companies that are buried under a burden of debt and are rampantly taking out commercial debt consolidation loans from the banks or the SBA. But little do they know that a small reorganization of their marketing efforts can help them boost their profits and thereby help them in getting back their lost shape. Instead of worrying about your soaring commercial debt obligations, take some time to under what social media is.

A social media marketing plan – What is it?

What is a social media marketing plan? Well, this is nothing but the summary of all that you plan to do and achieve for your business through the social media marketing efforts. You should begin with an audit of where your business accounts are at present, the goals that you want to achieve in the near future and the different social media tools that you will use in order to get there. Generally, the more specific you can get with your social media marketing plan, the more effective it will be during execution. Don’t make the social media marketing strategy too lofty to be attainable. Make sure that your plan guides all your actions and it will also help you measure whether or not you’re succeeding or failing with your social media efforts.

Smart tips to integrate social media into your business marketing strategy

According to an interview with marketers throughout different industry sectors, they’ve given their insight into the actions that they’re taking to enhance social media integration. Here are some points that we’ve learned.

  1. Choose social media strategies over tools: We all know that social media is still in its nascent stage and hence change is something that is constant. New social media tools are evolving day by day. By using the greatest and the latest technology, you may benefit the company, especially when your target audience is the younger generation. However, you should always judge the impact and value of a social media tool against the marketing strategy of the company. The key area should be innovativeness.
  2. Always look forward: Like some of the traditional media campaigns, the social media is also used to generate brand, company and product awareness. If you think that your goal is awareness, marketers should have a clear comprehension of what next in the marketing strategy of the company. Similarly, if building brand advocacy is the goal, you should be clear about how to use evangelists to endorse the message of your company.
  3. Allocate a social media channel to your strategy: Practically, every brand is on Twitter and Facebook and there are different other social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Brands typically don’t have enough resources to be present in each and every social media platform. So how will you know which channel to prioritize? One should always choose the social media platform that fits the target audience of your brand and then choose it. For example, both Twitter and Facebook reach a broad demographic and Instagram and Snapchat have a younger user base.
  4. Convert in order to make them purchase: Social media is one of those few places where every company can engage in a valuable conversation with their customers in an ongoing and real-time manner. This can serve as a key touch point through which the company can gradually reach the most vital part of its marketing plan, which is making people purchase. Keep responding to tweets and other posts.
  5. Share success stories: If you want your integration to be sought-after and valued, you should share success stories through your organization. Nowadays, success stories have become an integral part of the ethos of an organization and this will also organically influence social media marketing activities as well.

Hence, instead of taking out loans and getting help from financial advisors, adopt a social media marketing plan for your business. Take into account the above mentioned strategies so that you can deduce a plan and create the desired effect through social media. However, before making any decision, make sure you have your strategies ready.


Five Ways to Effectively Market Hotels and Casinos

Hotels and casinos took a hit during the recession due to the number of people out of work and looking for ways to save on vacations. Though the profits of those companies are now climbing again, some find that their profits are still low. Using some effective marketing tools and ideas can help hotels and casinos increase profits again.

Use Real Photographs Online

Hotels and casinos must have websites that give guests a glimpse at the facility and its amenities. Sites that use limited photographs and give only a small amount of information have less of an appeal to those looking for a room. Using current photographs is a simple way to appeal to those looking for hotels and casinos. Those pictures should give them an idea about what they can expect during their stay, including the types of rooms available and the on-site amenities. Even if the hotel offers little outside of a swimming pool and free Wi-Fi, those pictures will show travelers the cleanliness of the rooms and the friendliness of the staff.

Offer Online Check-In Options

Foursquare and similar apps are extremely popular with younger travelers today. These apps let them check in and share information about their stay, and they can even write a review after leaving. Working with those sites is an easy way to appeal to multiple groups of travelers. Some sites even let hotel and casino owners go in and update information as needed. They can update details about the casino’s operating hours, the restaurants nearby and any special events taking place.

Host Promotions

Promotions may be the key to a hotel’s or casino’s success. Many of these companies now have their own Facebook pages and pages on other social networking sites that let them inform travelers of special events and promotions. Las Vegas casinos often host giveaways in the form of motorcycles or cars. Guests and players can enter for free for a chance to win that vehicle. Other promotions may include coupons that entitle players to free money when they bring in a copy of the coupon or a free night when they book a room on a weekday. Some hotels and casinos find success hosting promotional events on Facebook, but others use on-site promotions to encourage guests to visit the facility.

Target Local Events and Activities

Casinos and hotels often exist in cities that boast a number of activities and events throughout the year that appeal to both tourists and locals. Targeting those events is a simple way to increase business and profits. For example, a hotel owner might work out an agreement with a local tour company that lets hotel guests book a seat on that tour for a lower price. They may also highlight local activities and events on their website. Someone searching for information about a summer festival or a holiday party may come across the site and decide to book a room there or stop by the casino after the event.


Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is a method of using keywords to encourage people to visit a page and to increase the search engine ranking of a website. Finding the right keywords can be tricky, but hotel and casino owners generally want to highlight and use words relating to those facilities and the available amenities. Geo tags, which are tags and words relating to the city, are also helpful. Those tags specifically target people looking for places to stay and play in that city. Sid Vaikunta’s blog and other similar sites have more marketing ideas and useful information for hotel and casino owners.

Marketing a hotel, casino or even a resort in the right way can result in the game floor filled with players and the rooms booked with hundreds of guests. Using keywords and photographs, hosting promotions, offering online check-in and targeting local events are just a few of the best marketing techniques.

4 Marketing Strategies that Drive New Business

Marketing, particularly internet marketing, is an ever evolving, ever changing vehicle for securing new clients. Those who stay ahead of the curve as far as new marketing methods prove to be the ones that succeed. Though specifics may change, there are certain marketing strategy concepts that stay consistent and that can greatly aid you in your endeavors to gain new business.


  1. Utilize Current Technologies


Internet marketing is only as effective as the technologies that are used to share it. With the continued technological advancements that are made every year, it is imperative that you stay abreast of current trends. It is also important that you keep your efforts consistent and streamlined, and the proper sales management software can help you to do just that. There are different types of software options that present a variety of different choices, so you must do the proper research so that you may select the right one for your company.


  1. Proper Reporting


You must not only have current information but you must make sure that you are presenting it properly. There are different reporting tools that can be used to aid in this endeavor. Similar to marketing technologies, reporting modules also evolve and change over time, so it is important that you stay abreast of the current and most effective ways of reporting and implement those elements. Most management programs will have these capabilities, so you should keep the reporting aspect in mind as well when choosing your software.


  1. Market to the (Targeted) Masses


When trying to attract new business it can be beneficial to cast your net wide; however, you should still focus your efforts in a general direction. Even if you run different campaigns it will be most beneficial to run them under the same topic. For instance, if you want to gain more lawyers as clients, it would prove to be more effective for you to focus your attentions on a particular group of lawyers, such as accident lawyers, and explore the different options within that category, such as wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, etc., rather than trying to cover the entire scope of all lawyers.





  1. Effective Content Creation


It is not what you say to your audience but rather how you say it that can make or break your marketing efforts. Effective content is key in presenting quality-marketing material. There are a few essential elements to effective content, including:


  • Relevant material
  • Clear language
  • Cater to the audience’s interests
  • Key word optimization


You should focus your efforts on quality rather than quantity; a few high quality pieces of copy that draw a large amount of traffic are more valuable than a large amount of subpar articles that consumers do not read.


As times and the consumer market change, so must your marketing efforts. However, there are certain aspects, such as the aforementioned marketing strategies, that stay the same. Make sure that you utilize current technologies, report information properly, engage in targeted marketing and provide quality content. Staying cognizant of and applying these strategies will help you to stay with the trends and reach your intended audience in the most effective manner.

Good Business Practice Creates More Business Opportunities

Regardless of what industry you are in, your relationship with your customers should always be maintained. Good business practice generally leads to an increase in revenue and a happy customer is a repeat customer. Customer appreciation is the key to a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship.

Building a relationship with your customers
In the current economic climate there is huge competition for customer loyalty. In many cases customers are not able to spend as much as before and new clients are few and far between. This has made many corporations become more aware of the value of their current clients and encouraged them to build a more personal relationship with them.

A relationship with the customer is important on so many levels and often businesses overlook simple strategies that can cement continuing custom. Appreciation can easily be shown to customers in a number of ways, even if on a budget. End of year gifts, a cocktail party or corporate holiday e cards can add a small but personal touch that can solidify a relationship and express gratitude for an ongoing relationship.

Adding value with corporate gifts
Corporate gifts can add value to your customer relationship and also serve as brand placement and advertising. A few suggestions of branded corporate gifts for customers are as follows:

Coffee mugs


Card holders


First aid kits

Mobile phone or tablet covers

Key rings and lanyards

Not only will you be offering your customers a gift, you will also be placing your branding in their office or home, where more people will be exposed to your name and take note of your company. Corporate gifts can be an extremely effective advertising tool that does not have to cost a fortune and a small investment in branded goods will see you reaping huge rewards.

Personalised customer service reaps rewards
Personalised customer service is often neglected and a relationship between a customer and its supplier is not always considered a priority. However, if you look at good business practise over the years you will see a pattern emerge whereby customers who are treated well tend to stick with one brand or manufacturer.

There is so much competition in the corporate world that a good reputation is almost invaluable. By engaging your clients and taking what may be considered an old-fashioned stand-point of rewarding them for choosing you, your customer base and reputation will grow positively and your clients will become your best advertisements.

Establishing a good relationship with your customers is a crucial step in maintaining your client base and ensuring continuing profitability. There are so many ways you can show your customers your appreciation and a simple card from a site like Eco 2 Greetings over the festive season can speak volumes. Increased customer satisfaction can only lead to a long term relationship and often the personal touch is enough to cement a large contract or an ongoing purchase order.

Jennifer is a seasoned corporate advisor who writes regularly for online and print publications. Her tips on growing your brand are used by starter companies and large conglomerates. Jennifer uses a company like Eco 2 Greetings to stay in touch with her client base in a professional yet personal manner.

Make An Impact: What your car says about your business

A high-end car makes an instant impression. Most of us are aware of branding, even if subconsciously, and the connection is often immediate. If you see a Mercedes Tri-Star or a Porsche coat of arms, you instantly know the quality and quite possibly the price bracket of the car. In almost all other luxury industries – for example clothing or handbags – it is possible to create a pretty convincing fake. However, with a car what you see is what you get. Playing on this association is a great way to create a first impression in business. Conversely, with cars of real quality, all of the logos and other branding could be removed and most of us would still recognise the make straightaway.

First Impressions
Cars are often regarded as status symbols, but in business, a quality car is seen more as a reflection of the standards held by the company. If a business involves transporting customers or clients the quality of the vehicle can make a key first impression. It goes without saying that the car you choose will depend on the kind of impression you want to make, which in turn depends on the nature of your business. Some great advice about what car to buy can be found here.


Environmental Message
The Toyota Prius is the go-to car to project the message that your company is environmentally aware. Of course, it’s important that this clear statement of intent is backed up with an ethical business model. Being accused of hypocrisy is never a positive thing in business. The Prius wears its eco-friendly badge with pride, and is instantly recognisable.

Pure Class
If you wish to project pure class and unsurpassed quality, you won’t go far wrong with the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. This car packs a lot of muscle behind its deceptively compact exterior and its sleek design makes an instant impact. Alternatively, for a real demonstration of class, invest in a Mercedes S-Class, one of the most luxurious cars on the market today. For extreme comfort and pure luxury, this car is hard to beat.

For those looking to make a quirky design statement, a zippy Fiat 500 makes an excellent choice. Available in a wide range of fashionable colours; this is a car with real flair. Retro, endearing and possessing real Italian charm, this car is a breath of fresh air and instantly projects a fun, young image – a fashion statement on wheels.

Your choice of car really can help you project an impression of your business. Brand association is a strong tool. Just think how it is seared into our subconscious to associate black London cabs with safety, reliability and a knowledgeable driver, or a Mini with retro charm and great design. Equally, there are several makes which shall remain nameless that wear their unreliable reputations like a badge of (dis)honour. Putting some thought into the image you wish to project by your choice of vehicle really can reap rewards. If cars are part of the public face of your company, be sure that the make you choose will drive your business forward.

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